Monday, 21 April 2014

Why I've kicked the bucket list and 4 tips for getting the most from life lists

On 15th August 2012 I wrote a list of goals I wanted to achieve in 1001 days, a bucket list with a due date of 12th May 2015.  I started on the list enthusiastically and got a lot done for the first four months.  Among other things I learnt to home brew wine, researched Seasonal Affective Disorder to plan for the heavy Winter months, visited the dentist for the first time in 15 years (procrastination indeed) and joined a knitting group.  It was a productive time and the list was an effective tool to kick myself into action.   I'm a procrastination pro and writing the list actually got me moving, which at the time was miraculous.

Despite this by early 2013 I'd stopped working on the list daily and by mid-2013 I'd forgotten about it completely.  Why did I abandon it if it was going so well?  The answer is that I didn't need it any more.  Making the list and actively using it for several months got me into the habit of drilling down into what I really wanted to do, asking why I wasn't doing it and finding a way to start making it happen right now.  I completed 27 of my 95 goals and set many others in progress but found myself dropping some goals altogether as I was no longer interested in them, and getting involved in others that had never been on my list.  Here's my advice if you want to embark on a goal list:

1)  Don't hesitate to include small things.  Many list sites would have you stick to sailing single handedly around the world and other great feats, but if you want to create the perfect meringue then write it down.

2)  For each goal make a note of why you want to achieve it, when you'll know you've done it (make it measurable) and what the first step in your journey to completion is eg.

Make the perfect meringue

Why?  Because I love Queen Of Puddings and want it to be the best I've ever had.

When will I know I've done it?  When the meringue is firmly peaked and crisp

First step?  Look up You Tube videos giving clear instructions.

3)  If you look back on your list several months in and feel uninspired by some of your goals ask yourself why this is.  Are you putting it off because it's hard or is it just not relevant to you any more?  If it's no longer relevant, drop it and spend your time on something that inspires you.

4)  Keep going on the goals that do inspire you but keep an open mind to any opportunity you get excited about whether it's on you list or not.  In this way you'll develop the habit of looking out for interesting new opportunities and you will have developed the habit of defining your goals, whether they're on the list or not, and actively working towards them.

Despite kicking my own bucket list I still recommend them.  Working on one made me see how full my life is of exciting and interesting things to do at a time when I felt restricted and small and my attitude's changed permanently because if it, making it an empowering and valuable experience.

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